14th November 2005
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
Over the past three months, since my last report to you in July, many events took place that kept me very busy. Only now, with the time change, can I say that I am on a routine that allows me to gather and organize my thoughts.
The month of August was highlighted by the European Conference of Pastoral Counselling and Care that took place in Sweden. During this conference, I was able to inform the participants about the ENHCC and share the experience of our organization’s development and growth. Many participants from our Network were there, so it was a great reunion as well. Also, the new administration of the ECPCC is full of “Networkers”: Rev. Dr. Adamantios Avgoustidis was elected President of the organization. Chaplain Anne Vandenhoeck, Rev. Kirsti Aalto and myself were elected on to the Steering Committee.
Late September and the beginning of October was highlighted by the Network Committee Meeting that took place between the 30th of September and the 2nd of October, hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul). As you may have read in the news release put on our website, the meeting was very productive. The topics discussed were:
2) Legal basis of the ENHCC
3) ENHCC and the European Union
4) The ENHCC Library
5) International relations
6) Increasing participation with the ENHCC
7) Inter-faith issues
Our discussions also focused on planning the upcoming Consultation in Lisbon in May 2006.
Upon returning from Istanbul, I received an unexpected call from the office of the Commissioner for Public Health of the EU asking that our Network help in a proposal that is being written for recommendations in dealing with palliative care within the context of the EU. This was indeed an honour and evidence of the fact that our meetings at the EU in June were productive and noteworthy. The person who is composing the proposal for the EU (Mrs. N. Akkelidou of Cyprus) flew into Athens on the 21st of October especially to meet with me. Our meeting lasted about two hours. After our discussion, I was asked to review the final draft and make proposals as I saw fit. It was agreed that spiritual care givers (chaplains) play a major role in palliative care and that they should be included in the proposal and in any further discussions the EU has on this issue. This is indeed a big step in recognizing chaplaincy on a European level!
Within coming weeks you will be receiving information about the Lisbon Consultation. Within the months ahead before our meeting, there is a lot to be done.
I will keep you informed as things develop.
May your upcoming Advent season be blessed. You all remain in my thoughts and prayers,
Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)